A bizarre succulent is one that suggests something it's not in an eerie way: a cancerous growth, reptile, bug or body part. When you take a second look and ponder what on earth it is, you experience a deliciously unsettling ah-ha (or bwa-ha-ha) moment.
Of course, what's bizarre is in the eye of the beholder. The gallery below presents my own subjective choices. I spotted the specimens shown here at shows and sales of the Cactus & Succulent Society of America; in collector's gardens and greenhouses; and at succulent specialty nurseries.
If you're hoping to add any these or other bizarre succulents to your collection, I suggest checking these online sources: Mountain Crest Gardens and Rojas Succulents.
Bizarre Succulents Gallery
Related info on this site
Where to Find Rare Succulents
Collectors know where to find rare succulents: at shows hosted by Cactus and Succulent Society affiliate clubs. Attend one near you to see unusual plants grown and displayed perfectly; blue-ribbon winners; reasonably priced plants not found in nurseries; growers and experts; and one-of-a-kind, artist-designed pots. I like to pick out a collectible art pot and…
See Rich Zeh’s 30-Year Succulent & Cactus Collection
Rich Zeh has an Aladdin’s trove of cacti and succulents. “I’m pretty much maxed out on space,” he says of his one-acre garden and greenhouse in Paradise Valley (Phoenix) Arizona.
Professor Mordant’s Sea-Sand Succulents
Every year as Halloween approaches, I recall my visit to Professor Mordant’s remote island to tour his collection of sea-sand succulents. The island was rumored to be an eerie, inhospitable place—a volcanic outcropping devoid of vegetation, nothing like the mainland resort where I and other garden photojournalists had been sunning ourselves in style. I alone…
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amazing I love 💕 succulents
Great fun! How about something for Christmas!?!
This is why I love succulents, some are so bizarre and all wonderful!!
Cleistocactus strausii ‘Kitten Dinner’, The Latin name is correct but ‘Kitten Dinner’? Hmmm. Euphorbia mounditanica, can find no reference to this Euphorbia on the internet. I have heard of a Moroccan Mound – this could be a made up name. Oreocereus shihtsuensis or a Oreocereus that resembles a Shihtsu? Interesting…but maybe it is an Oreocereus celsianus. Pseudolithos migiurtinus may be the right name but you are right in that you may want to regurgitate your last meal if you smell it’s flowers. Not sure what Notocactus ‘Buttered Popcorn’ is – looks somewhat similar to Parodia tenuicylindrica or Parodia spegazziniana. Lithops ‘Bitty Buns’. Maybe you know something about baking with African ingredients? Aloe ‘Runway’? Haven’t heard of a tree aloe by that name. But I am behind considering how many aloes there are. Agave titanota ‘Gleeful Beetle’, sure haven’t heard of that cultivar! Can you send me one so I can inspect it? Aeonium ‘Victorian Corset’. It does resemble one. But more likely, this cultivar name doesn’t exist – although it does bear a resemblance to a cultivar named ‘Arboretum’.
Big round of applause, Celeste! Your score is 12 out of a possible 24. I gave you one point for every fake name you found and one point for each correct name you provided as well. You may very well be the winner. But to ensure you keep your standing, do you want to nail down the other 12 points? Thanks for participating—I wasn’t sure anyone would!
Did Gerold Macrorhizus have a Gerrardanthus macrorhizus? Dioscoria elephantipes is misspelled, should be Dioscorea elephantipes. Aloe vanbalenii is correct spelling for Aloe vanbalenni. Maybe I will come back tomorrow and take another run at it…
Oh, my. You caught things I was unaware of. You definitely get extra points for that! Blushing here. Because those spelling errors were unintended, I’m going to correct them so no one else claims them. But you still get two extra points for them. Your total is now 17!
Aeonium ‘Victorian Corset’ looks like perhaps Aeonium arboreum ; Agave titanota ‘Gleeful Beetle’ might be Agave Titanota Filigree; Aloe ‘Runway” = Aloe africana?; Cleistocactus strausii ‘Kitten Dinner’ = Cleistocactus winterii “Golden Rat Tail”; Crassula polysyllabica ‘Baby’s Necklace’ = Crassula peforata ‘Baby’s Necklace’; Euphorbia mounditanica = Euphorbia mauritanica; Gerald’s macrorhizus = Gerrardanthus macrorhizus; Lithops ‘Bitty Buns’ = Lithops hookeri; Oreocereus shihtsuensis = Oreocereus celsianus; Notocactus “Buttered Popcorn” = Notocactus leninghausii ; Pseudolithos regurgitinus = Pseudolithos cubiformis or P. migiurtinus; Could not find a 12th! Thanks for a fun challenge and great photos.
Hi Darcy — Impressive! I’m giving you 19 points out of a possible 24!
Found an overlooked clue…. I believe N. “Buttered Popcorn” should be Notocactus scopa v. murieli
Good job Darcy, you’re the frontrunner at 20 points out of 24!
Bowiea volubilis is commonly called “climbing onion,” rather than “pregnant onion.” The “pregnant onion” is Ornithogalum longibracteatum. Many of these featured plants are fasciated, a mutation that causes them to grow in crested or other distorted forms. It is not normal for them to grow this way and the regular forms look quite different. Interesting photos.
Oh! Good to know! Thanks, Sandy.
Hi! Thanks for one of the most educational challenges ever! It’s keeping me in better form to homeschool my son. Here are my best guesses so far:
1. Aeonium Victorian Corset is very creative, adding ‘Arboretum’ improves accuracy
2 Agave Titanota Gleeful Beetle may add ‘Filigree’
3. Aloe Runway edit to Aloe Arborescens ‘Candelabra’
4. Cephalocereus Palmerii edit to Cephalocereus Leucocephalus perhaps?
5. Echeveria Lilac Frost looks more like Echeveria Etna to me
6. Euphorbia Mounditanica edit to Mauritanica
7. Fenestraria Aurantiaca edit to Fenestraria Rhopalophylla
8. Haworthiopsis Coarctata edit to Haworthiopsis Attenuata
9. Lithops Bitty Buns add Hookeri
10. (Disclaimer if I’m way off here) Lophocereus Schotii edit to Myrtillocactus Geometrizans or the elegant Boob
11. Myrtillocactus Geometrizans edit to Mammillaria Elongata
12. Oreocereus Shihtsuensis edit to Cephalocereus Senilis
13. Pachypodium Brevicaule edit to Rosulatum
14. Pseudolithos Regurgitinus edit to Migiutinus
Jennifer! This delights me. Thanks so much for participating. You have 12 points. No one so far has more than 20 out of a possible 24. Want to give it another whirl? ;+)